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Whyte model year 2015 road and cyclo-cross bikes – first look

Disc brakes across the board a new new RRD 'thoroughbred race bike' range for Cotswold brand

RRD Carbon Road Disc

Two bikes make up the debut RRD range, the £1,999 Stowe Rival and £3,199 Stowe Ultegra, built up with SRAM’s new 11-speed Rival groupset and Shimano’s second-tier Ultegra setup respectively – and both, of course, have hydraulic disc brakes.

Both machines use the same uni-directional, multi-monocoque frame, with a full-carbon fork and tapered steerer (to boost front-end stiffness) and skinny 27.2mm seatpost (to improve comfort through the saddle) to tick two ‘must have’ features on a modern performance road bike. The seatstays have also been profiled to improve comfort, Alexander says.

The carbon-framed, disc-equipped Stowe Ultegra is Whyte’s flagship road bike

The bikes will appeal to sportive riders and fast club riders, according to Alexander, with a more aggressive geometry than the versatile RD7. Three sizes are available (51cm, 54cm and 57cm) and the 54cm frame has a 73 degree headtube angle, 73.5 degree seattube angle, 549mm toptube, 155mm headtube and 1,005mm wheelbase, so it sits a little closer to the sportive bike end of the spectrum than an out-and-out race bike. Whyte have opted for 430mm chainstays, while Saracen have gone for 420mm on the Arvo.

The Stowe Rival, as we said at the top, uses the new SRAM Rival groupset, which gains a sprocket to become 11-speed and hydraulic disc brakes for 2015. “We’ve used various iterations of the SRAM [hydraulic] system for more than a year and it’s as good now as it was at the start,” says Alexander. “That lack of degradation is unheard of on most road bikes.”

RS685 hydraulic disc brakes for the Whyte Stowe Ultegra

There’s a 50-34t chainset and 11-28t cassette to provide a wide spread of gears, though the WiFLi long-cage rear derailleur can accept a 32-tooth rear sprocket if you’re planning a trip to the mountains, which, Alexander says, is where the Stowe and its disc brakes – both in SRAM Rival and Shimano Ultegra versions – will excel.

“If you take this bike into the Alps, you can take it down any of the big passes, not worry around the rim overheating and you’ve got consistent braking performance,” says Alexander.

“Performance by design” is Whyte’s ethos and all the Cotswold’s-based firm’s bikes are designed with UK riding in mind

The Stowe Ultegra, meanwhile, gets a Shimano Ultegra groupset, as you’d expect (though the 11-28t cassette is from SRAM and the 52-36t ‘semi-compact’ chainset from FSA’s SL-K range), with the Japanese firm’s RS685 hydraulic disc brakes. The finishing kit is upgraded from alloy Whyte own-brand kit on the Stowe Rival to a carbon fibre FSA setup on the Stowe Ultegra, with a Fizik Aliante saddle. Both bikes have Whyte’s own-brand, low-profile carbon fibre wheels, wrapped in 25mm Maxxis Relix tyres.

“You can run a really shallow, carbon fibre wheel and that has a really profound effect and you’ve actually got a bike which climbs nicely, too,” says Alexander. “Obviously there’s some additional weight with the disc, but if you drop some of the weight out of the rim then it has a huge effect.”

While the RRD have been introduced as Whyte’s performance-focused range, the RD-7 remains as the firm’s versatile road machine. Move on to the next page for more.

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